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  • Treatment Of Crime Victims

  • Treatment Of Crime Victims

    Dean Kilpatrick, Director of the National Crime Victims' Research and Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, offers ten guidelines for criminal justice and victim service professionals that can increase their understanding of, and development of policies related to, the mental health treatment of crime victims:

      Crime victims and their family members can experience immediate, short-terms, and long-term crime-related mental health problems. Victims may require treatment for immediate, short-term and long-term psychological injuries.

      Neither all crimes nor all victims are alike. Considerable individual variation exists among crime victims in the types of psychological injuries they are likely to sustain, and how long it will take them to reconstruct their lives, with or without treatment.

      Child victims often require special consideration because their crime-related psychological injuries may not show up for years after the crime incident. Provision of treatment to currently symptom-free children is often done to prevent development of future mental health problems.

      For many crime victims, elimination of crime-related psychological injuries is not a realistic treatment goal. Rather, helping victims to learn to cope is the main objective.

      At times of stress (including criminal justice system-induced stress), victims are likely to have exacerbations of psychological injuries. They can benefit from "booster treatment" at such times.

      Most mental health professionals have limited training and/or expertise in the assessment and treatment of crime victims' mental health problems.

      It is reasonable to require mental health treatment providers to document why they think a mental health problem is crime-related, and to describe problem areas that they are attempting to address with treatment. Prevention of future problems is an acceptable goal for treatment.

      Crime-related posttraumatic stress disorder is clearly an important goal for treatment. So are other mental health disorders that were either not present before the crime, or that were exacerbated after the crime, as well as other areas of functioning that deteriorated after the crime.

      Don't spend a lot of time and/or resources attempting to determine whether short-term and/or "cheap" treatment is reasonable. Focus efforts on long-term treatment or inpatient treatment. Peer review is your friend for these costly types of treatment.

      Getting consumer feedback from crime victims about their satisfaction with their mental health treatment is a great idea.

    This information came from a
    US DOJ online article.

    *** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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